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Egypt falls ahead of mass protests
Published in Daily News Egypt on 06 - 07 - 2011

CAIRO: Concern over a mass protest planned for Friday drag down the benchmark index by 2.2 percent, its biggest single-day decline since June 2.
Investors fear the protest may prolong Egypt's instability in the wake of the uprising earlier this year. The concerns bring down all but one stock on the 30-company index.
"Investors are terrified about Friday," Heba Saleh of Arab Finance Brokerage says. "The market is expected to fall even further tomorrow. People have a lot of concern and panic."
Heavy booms heard across Cairo also sent jitters through the market. Security and military officials said they were caused by an aircraft breaking the sound barrier and not by explosions.
Commercial International Bank, Egypt's biggest listed bank, drops 2.6 percent and Orascom Telecom 2.4 percent. Ezz Steel sheds 4 percent.
The protest at Cairo's Tahrir Square has been called to press the ruling military council for faster reforms.
"This is a natural decline. Egypt lacks political stability to help the economy to get back on its feet," Eissa Fathi of the Strategic Company for Securities says. "There is no stability with the continuance of protests and a call for mass ones on Friday."
Court rulings on Tuesday found three former ministers innocent of graft charges, in the first exoneration of senior officials since Hosni Mubarak was ousted.
The innocent verdicts could add momentum to the demonstration planned for Friday, traders say.
Traders said the booms heard across the city also had heightened jitters over political instability.
"People don't understand what is going on with the explosion, and that is unsettling," Tarek Abaza of Naeem Brokerage says. "Even though there have been denials, word of mouth is stronger than anything else."
Orascom Construction Industries drops 2.7 percent despite news the firm had secured infrastructure work in Saudi Arabia worth $450 million.
"The market discounts any good news," Saleh says. "The stock market is going down in general because of wider sentiment."
The benchmark index closes at 5,320 points.

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